aBoatTime interviewed Armando Gutiérrez Mendoza, 2 Time J80 World Champion.
1.- How did you get started in the world of sailing?
I started sailing with 12 years old in Santander, first on a boat from a friend of my father, that was my baptism, then I liked it and I started sailing: Optimist, Vaurien, Snipe, … ships that we had in the fleets in Santander, later we shared dinghy sailing with the cruisers.
2. – Do you prefer the pleasure of competing or the pleasure of sailing?
Sailing is a pleasure in itself, the two activities have its moments. The races, and especially in monotype boats are very strong with a lot of tension and concentration.
4. – Why J80?
In Santander I’ve had many years sailing in monotypes, FC8, at one point they made the decision to move to a more modern boat and change to the J80 fleet. In a year they assembled 40 ships. The class is very extended, J80 allows you browse people worldwide with quite good and at an annual cost control, it is a noble boat, good and very fast upwind and downwind.
3. – We assume that, as in most sports that are not soccer, it is very difficult to live from it. Could you tell us about your experience combining sport with your work life?
Sailing in Spain is very complicated, having the coast, conditions and the sailors we have, we should be a country with more nautical sense, and enhance more private companies to enter more easily. As we all know, sailing gives many international wins in Spain. I am an architect and I can organize my time to sail throughout the year. On Saturdays, the RCM Racing Santander organizes the classes, allowing us to be well trained, plus the level of the other crews in Santander is very high which makes that every weekend is almost like a World Cup.
4. – What sailing experience has been the most successful?
In my case the two world victories, have been the most satisfactory, although sailing a wave at 30 knots and having the log at the 24 knots mark is really a unique moment.
5. – And the least successful?
When you get to land the bad experiences, they turn into anecdotes.
6. – What it takes to compete in sailing?
A bit of will and not much more. At every club in Spain there is always some ship that takes people to navigate, it is important that you like and enjoy the moments that the sea gives you.
7. – What would you say to someone who has never experienced sailing?
It’s one of the experiences that we should all have in life, everyone should enjoy the sensations that sailing conveys. It’s different and unique, it’s quiet and the time stops, it’s relaxing but you must be concentrated, it’s freedom and at the same time you depend on a boat. It’s different.
8. – Which problems do you think the marine industry has in Spain?
It should not be treated as a luxury. In a country with so much sea, should be like a must to navigate.
9. – Who helped you more and who less on your sailing experience?
I had no problems sailing, as in Santander is more natural, the conditions are unique.These last 5 years I have achieved, (with the support of various companies like Nextel engineering, Sol Beer, American Express, Barcelo, Mercedes Benz) two World Champs, a World Champs runner-up and a bronze in a European, so I cannot complain.
10. Do you also like motorboats?
I like to float, I enjoy the sea and that includes the engine.
11. If you had unlimited money, which boat would you buy?
I would design it and build it myself.
12. What other competitions in the world of sailing you want to win?
I’d like to travel around the world racing here and there , there is already some ships that are doing something like this. If we win something more serious, its also fine.
13. What would you rather win, the America’s Cup or the Volvo Ocean Race? Why?
Thats a difficult one!, I think the Volvo because it’s a little more of an adventure.
14. What is, in your opinion, the best area for sailing in Spain / Europe / World? Why?
In Spain I think there is no better place than Santander, I dont mean a specific regata, I mean a full season. The level of sailors that get together all year long is very impressive: Olympic gold medals, Americas Cup, people from around the world, World Champions, Europan Champions, I think people feel a bit jealous about us every Saturday.